Gophers continue losing skid against unranked Arkansas

No. 14 Minnesota moves down to 8-3 after two losses in a row to unranked opponents.

Senior guard Nate Mason dribbles between his legs during a game against Miami on Wednesday, Nov. 29.

Jack Rodgers

Senior guard Nate Mason dribbles between his legs during a game against Miami on Wednesday, Nov. 29.

Jack Warrick

Arkansas has a playing style it calls “40 Minutes of Hell,” originally developed when the team won a national championship in 1994.

For the Gophers, the road to hell was paved with a road loss and a losing skid.

The No. 14 Gophers dropped their third loss in four games to Arkansas on Saturday after a dominant performance by the Razorbacks. Minnesota (8-3, 1-1 Big Ten) lost 95-79 to Arkansas (7-2) at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville, Ark. on Saturday.

The Gophers never had the lead in the sold-out game — the first sellout at Bud Walton Arena in three years. The Razorbacks shot 67 percent in the first half to make the score 50-42 at halftime.

The Gophers were pressed all night by the Arkansas defense. The Razorbacks run a full court press and switch up the coverage to double teams on occasion. Though the Razorbacks had more fouls, the aggressive game plan worked and they left the court with a overwhelming 16-point victory.

Last year, the Gophers defeated Arkansas at home by 14 points. Every Gophers starter who played in last year’s game also was in in Saturday night’s game, but the Gophers shot much better last year and the Razorbacks shot much worse. Some mixture of the crowd in Arkansas, the accuracy of Arkansas and the personal fouls on Minnesota’s key players led to a breakdown on the Gophers’ part.

Forward Jordan Murphy, who tallied 20 points and 10 rebounds in the contest, earned his 11th double-double in a row. He has gotten a double-double in every game of the season, leading the NCAA in that category.

Center Reggie Lynch got into foul trouble in the first four minutes of the game and played just four minutes in the first half. In the second half, he caught his third foul in the first minute and sat back down. Lynch, who is pivotal to the Gophers game under the basket, played just 14 minutes.

With Lynch out, the Gophers needed help from the bench and forward Gaston Diedhiou played 18 minutes, tallying six points in the contest — doubling his points on the season. However, the Arkansas bench proved to have much more depth as it had 29 points to the Minnesota reserves’ 13.

Arkansas shot well, finishing the game 39-68 from the field, with 10 three-pointers. Minnesota shot 41 percent from the floor, with just 5-19 baskets from behind the three-point line.

Gophers Nate Mason and Amir Coffey each had double digit point totals with 18 for Coffey and 17 for Mason. Jaylen Barford led the Razorbacks with 22 points on the night, shooting 9-15 with four rebounds. His teammate, C.J. Jones, hit five three point shots — as many as the entire Gophers team had — accounting for all 15 of his points.

The Gophers head home to Williams Arena to play after a two-game, two-loss road stretch. They will go on a six-game home stretch and finish off December at Williams. Next game will be on Monday against Drake University (5-4).